So right after work today, Kieron, Marie, her boyfriend James, his friend from work, and I headed all the way out to Saitama Stadium 2002 (it was built for the world cup), which is FAR! Anyway, it was worth it, as we went for the Saitama City Cup, AKA Manchester United (almost full team) vs. The Urawa Reds.
We had open seats (open to the elements, too!--very surprisingly cold and not so surprisingly rainy all evening!) and ended up standing through the match, which was fine, as we were with the Urawa supporters in the only rowdy(ish) section of the whole thing. It was a bit ridiculous actually, as there were probably about 60,000 fans (an almost full 63,000 seat arena) and it was soooo quiet! I actually had a cell phone conversation with Peter where I didn't really need to raise my voice at all. How bizarre, hey?
They also had Sir Alex Ferguson and Bobby Charlton carry out the premiership trophy at the very beginning of the game-it was very shiny! It was a fun match--never been to a stadium that big before, and it was pretty cool (could have done without the crowded trains both ways though (although we did some tricky maneuvering and got seats on the way back!)
The soccer wasn't great, but wasn't totally terrible either- a couple of the goals were quite nice, and despite being outsized by most of their opponents the Urawa Reds did a good job, and well in to them for tying it 2-2. There were some definite moments of good soccer, but the whole experience of going and hanging out with everyone and watching the amazingly organised chanting (and singing of anti-German British war songs) was the best/main part of the whole experience for sure
I took quite a few pics--it's a very cool stadium! See them by clicking on the photo below.